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Strong second half propels No. 4 Arizona past Alabama

strong-second-half-propels-no.-4-arizona-past-alabama

Oumar Ballo had a double-double as No. 4 Arizona roared back in the second half against cold-shooting Alabama, winning 87-74 on Wednesday night to cap a day of action at the Jerry Colangelo Hall of Fame Series in Phoenix.

Ballo finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, and he helped foul out Alabama big men Mohamed Wague and Nick Pringle, each with about six minutes to go. Arizona (9-1) also got 16 points and six rebounds from Pelle Larsson.

Alabama (6-5) mostly ran out of offense after taking a seven-point lead early in the second half. The Crimson Tide hit just 33.8 percent of their shots, including 20 percent (8 of 40) from 3-point range. Grant Nelson scored a team-high 17 points but was only 3 of 15 from behind the arc.

After falling behind by 12, Alabama was still hanging around, down 78-72 with 3:25 to go. Arizona’s Caleb Love, limited by foul trouble most of the game, ignited a game-sealing sequence by attacking the rim for layups on back-to-back possessions and then making two free throws to put the Wildcats up 84-72 at the 2:43 mark.

All five Arizona starters scored in double figures. Kylan Boswell scored 15, Love wound up with 13 and Keshad Johnson had 11. Sam Walters scored 15 points for Alabama.

The Crimson Tide were playing their third consecutive game against a Top 10 opponent, previously losing to Purdue in Toronto and at Creighton.

Alabama used a 10-0 run early in the second half, fueled by two 3-pointers from Nelson, to take a 50-43 lead before the Wildcats stepped up their pressure on defense to regain momentum.

The Crimson Tide made only one basket in the next 8:27 after taking its seven-point lead as the Wildcats turned rebounds and turnovers into offense. A 19-4 spurt gave Arizona a 64-54 lead at the 8:14 mark.

Alabama opened with a 9-0 lead at Footprint Center before Arizona battled back to tie the game at 23 and poked ahead at 30-28 on Boswell’s step-back jumper with 3:35 left. It was a one-possession margin for the final 7:35 of the half, with the Wildcats leading 40-39 at the break.

Alabama was 3 of 22 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes.

–Field Level Media

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